Generally speaking, when one thinks of early childhood education, the assumption of this is one which encompasses the stereotype of ‘glorified babysitting’ and the teaching of ‘ABCs…’ and 1, 2, 3…” Well, say ‘so long’ to such!
The starting point to understanding early learning and education is simple. Think about the first years of a human being. You learn to see, to speak, to touch, to feel, to understand; all of which construct the basis of a personality. Once this personality is formed, so are attitudes and values which then guide a child’s behaviour and feelings, which resonate throughout their entire lifetime.
But what is early learning and how is it classified as education? In Australia, early learning centres have become synonymous with schools; childcare is now considered as part of the education sector. For the first time, the Australian government has acknowledged that learning is paramount to the development of a child, leading to the formation of educational outcomes, as found in the Early Years Learning Framework EYLF.
These outcomes are centred on the idea of the progression:
Advancing in skills
Advancing critical thinking
What differentiates early learning programs from conventional learning programs?
Early learning is concerned with the development of a child, as appropriate to their age. With this, learning is no longer confined to the 4 walls of education; pen, paper, textbook and teacher. In fact, learning in a childcare setting flourishes through equipment, teacher-guidance, thinking and 21st century skills.
There is no one kind of thinker. There is no one kind of learner.
With this, childcare centres are concerned with the founding of children as citizens. No longer is the world concerned with robot-like, by-products of society. In fact, the largest companies, in a global context, seek abstract, proactive and leader-like thinkers who can bring innovation and ideas to the table.
Take Apple, for example, one of the most successful corporations in modern history. When opening up the page titled ‘Jobs at Apple’ on their website, you are confronted with the statement “There's a place here for every kind of brilliant.” Nowhere in that statement does it denote that there is a restricted criteria or specific skill required to work with the most renowned company in the world.
This is the difference! Early learning is now boundless. The settings are often linked to art, prompting creativity, activities are often linked to ‘hands-on’ experiences, prompting critical thinking and educators are often linked to facilitators, prompting individuality. These are factors that all contribute to moulding 21st century thinkers.
Never too early for an early learning centre...
Abstract thinking can be founded from as early as 6 weeks old. Every single mannerism and reaction of a child is subject to an external influence, which means that ‘learning’ can be synonymous with ‘developing’ in the early years of a child’s life. Early learning can help facilitate child growth.
Want to know how early learning centres can facilitate your child’s future? Call 1300 668 993 to find out more.